Leslie Yamaguchi

Leslie Yamaguchi is a High School English teacher in Southern California. She is a volunteer for the Japanese American National Museum where she writes articles for the Museum Store Online and helps out with book sales at public programs.

Updated November 2007

media en

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Only the Brave: Lane Nishikawa honors Japanese American Veterans

In all of his pursuits as an actor, writer, and director, Lane Nishikawa has “continually broken ground in examining the human condition of the Asian American experience.” In Only The Brave, Lane Nishikawa gives viewers a unique perspective into a piece of World War II history that is little known to the American public. Only The Brave celebrates “the unparalleled courage of the Nisei soldiers who voluntarily fought in World War II while many of their families were imprisoned in internment camps back in the States.”


The son of an accountant and beauty salon owner, Nishikawa was born …

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culture en

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Sakura: Beautiful Flowering Trees of Japan

The cherry blossom, known as sakura, is the national flower of Japan. Different from the fruit-bearing trees found in other countries, these flowering trees are enjoyed mostly for their beautiful blossoms and the beauty of the falling snow-like petals. Because the blossoms only last for a few days in the spring, many travel to common viewing sites where a festive atmosphere is enjoyed by all; friends and families gather, bringing picnic baskets and sake to be shared with music and song.


Hanami, or cherry blossom viewings, began in ancient times when aristocrats wrote poetry, sang songs, and held …

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identity en

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Pure Beauty: Rebecca King-O’Riain’s Look at Japanese American Beauty Pageants

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain has written a fascinating book, Pure Beauty, about Japanese American community beauty pageants, exploring how race, ethnicity, culture, and gender are linked in social practice. As revealed in her research, these beauty pageants reflect important conflicts within the Japanese American community over national citizenship, gender, and race and raise questions about the struggle to maintain racial and ethnic lines within the community.


Dr. King-O’Riain has always felt a strong bond to her Japanese ancestry. Because her grandfather, grandmother, and mother were incarcerated in Rowher, Arkansas, and her aunt was born in camp, she has always …

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